Yale Summer School Seminar

22 July 2022

Presentation for the Autonomy Seminar on “Autonomy and Non-Adaptation in Art”, on July 22, London, UK. Closed session at ICA. Additional presentations by Lucca Fraser, Helen Hester and Emily McMehen

Ludic localization for a non-adaptive world is dependent on what Kendall Walton calls “principles of generation” that orient or mandate imagination in a particular way.[1] Less rigid than explicit rules by fiat, yet nonetheless made transparent to consciousness, these principles are rendered “objective” and sensible, in part, by way of props or artifacts that furnish a world with shareable referentiality. Constitutive artifacts act as mediators for access to the particular grammar (structuring game-space) of non-adaptive worlds, while their archaeological staging contextualizes them “as if” manifest from a world independent of any imagination (experience) of it.[2] The as-if empiricism embodied by artifacts propped up by fossilized gestures operates as both evidence and invitation. Artifacts of The Form of Not endow the fictional world of The Everted Capital with “objective” interference—constructing empirical access to “what is the case” (evidence) while the same props invite speculative departure (“what must be thought”) from the configuration (rules) of this mandated world. In such an arrangement that brings rationalist and empirical modes of thinking into interference, cues can be found for the refiguring of epistemic considerations qua art, beyond forms of thinking tethered to the “what is the case” status of the given world. The epistemic consequence of making anything at all is, quite simply, always a doing, always manipulative, and through the integration of this manipulative doing with the worlds for thought, such activity may enable a “redistribution” of epistemological efforts “to manage objects and information” that can neither be immediately externalized nor purely imagined internally, but can be diagrammed.[3] In such an epistemological schema, the agency of thought to unbind itself from a given world is bound to the necessity of thought’s prosthetization.

[1] Ibid., 38.
[2] “As if” is used in deference to Hans Vaihinger, whose philosophical program recognized the constitutive role the “consciously false” plays in “science, world-philosophies, and life.” Hans Vaihinger, The Philosophy of ‘As If’, trans. C. K. Ogden (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, and Co., 1935).
[3] Magnani, Abductive Cognition, 51.